PV Sindhu has scripted another first for Indian sports with her BWF World Championship title at Basel, Switzerland. The commercial side of Indian sports will not remain untouched from the epochal feat.
Sindhu’s brand managers Baseline Ventures though decline to read too much into and allow the “nation to celebrate the achievement”. But the fact remains, commercial graph has run parallel to, in not faster than, the sporting achievements of the Hyderabad girl.
In the brand world, the 24-year-old icon stands much taller than her lean 5’10” self, rubbing shoulder with the likes of Virat Kohli, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar in commercial worth charts of India’s sporting heroes. In the Indian sports brand market, she commands a commercial value only next to cricket world’s richest icon Kohli, Dhoni and Tendulkar. Duff and Phelps in January this year had valued Sindhu’s brand worth at $ 21.6 million.
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In January, Sindhu has added Chinese badminton and athleisure major Li-Ning to the list of her brand contracts. The deal was reported to be worth ₹ 50 crore – ₹ 40 crore in cash and the rest in equipment and sportswear.
Sindhu also emerged the only Indian athlete to figure in the table of world’s highest-paid female athletes by Forbes, a list topped by tennis great Serena Williams.
With total earnings of $5.5 million, Sindhu was tied for the 13th place in The Highest-Paid Female Athletes 2019 list released by Forbes. “Sindhu remains India’s most marketable female athlete. She became the first Indian to win the season-ending BWF World Tour finals in 2018,” Forbes said. A player’s earnings were determined by taking into account prize money, salaries, bonuses, endorsements and appearance fees between June 2018 and 2019.
The rich list of brands that gets enhanced brand values for association with name PV Sindhu includes, JBL earphones, Bridgestone tyres, Moov pain relief ointment, sports energy drink Gatorade, online fashion store Myntra, Nokia, Panasonic Batteries, Honey brand APIS, Vizag Steel, Bank of Baroda and health drink Ojasvita. She has also been the brand ambassador for Central Reserve Security Force.
On the sporting frontier, firsts to Sindhu’s credit are numerous right from the 2018 Rio Olympics Games silver – the best ever for India in the sport of badminton.
The BWF World Championship gold at Basel is just like a perfect icing on the cake for this incredible Indian athlete. This also highlights her brilliant run with her last five appearances in the coveted BWF event has culminating into a medal every year – bronze medals in 2015 and 2016, silvers over the next two years before she captured the elusive gold with utmost authority, crushing Japan’s Nozumu Okuhara 21-7, 21-7 in a mere 31 minutes.
In the process, Sindhu also became only the second Indian girl to bag a World Championship gold in any sports discipline, emulating the feat of Mirabai Chanu, who had won the 2017 World Weightlifting Championship gold in Anahein, USA.
The Hyderabad girl has started her flight to commercial glory with the Rio de Janeiro gold, for which her list of sacrifices ranged from staying away from her mobile phone to keeping her favourite chocolates and ice-creams out of her platter for months together.
To realise her World Championship dream in Basel, too, Sindhu had not touched her cell phone and said no to her favourite homemade biryani for close to two months. The sacrifice and achievement come at the right time as nation will be looking up to her for another Olympic glory at Tokyo 2020 – in less than a year’s time from now.